Précis of Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr.book
“From Values to Action”
The four principles fo values-based leadership
Jossey Bass: 2011 ISBN 978-0-470-88125-5
Pete Laburn – May 2013
Value based leadership is about aligning your actions as a leader with your core values as a person, enabling you to act in accordance with what you believe and fulfil your potential as a leader. The four principles of values based leadership are: Self-reflection, Balance, True Self-confidence and Genuine Humility. The principles are interconnected, each building on and contributing to the others, and together they form a solid foundation for values-based leadership.
1. Self Reflection
Self-reflection is the key to identifying what you stand for, what your values are and what matters most. Through self-reflection, you are able to step back, filtering out the noise and distraction in order to assess what is most important to you. As your view becomes clearer, you can prioritise how and when to invest your time, efforts and energy. Self-reflection allows you to gain clarity on issues, both personal and professional, because you have taken the time to think more deeply about them. The more self-reflective you are, the easier it is to make choices that are in line with your values, and with awareness of the full impact of your decisions.
Self-reflection is central to your leadership. Often time’s leaders want to emulate someone else’s leadership style. Although we can all learn from the example of others, your leadership must come from your core. You cannot determine the kind of leader you are without first figuring out who you are. Your leadership needs to be rooted in the real world and reflective of your views, life experiences and professional path.
Today, leaders often confuse activity with productivity. They run around busily from task to task, but do not take the time to step back and see the big picture. They are not connected in any way with the overall purpose or plan for what they are doing. Self-reflection can help solve this problem. When people take the time to reflect on what is important to them and why, they begin to transform activity into productivity – for all the right reasons.
Before you can communicate your values, you need to identify your values. Do not wait for a senior leader to define your values, take the time now to define your values through a process of self-reflection. Ask yourself: what do I truly believe? Am I willing to state my values? Am I willing to compromise my values? Are my actions consistent with my beliefs? Once you have put your values down on paper and are clear about what you stand for, take the time to reflect more deeply by asking: Who am I and how comfortable am I with myself?
Once you have identified your values, you need to find time for regular self-reflection when you can be silent and reflect on how your actions are aligned with your values. Some people do this while jogging or walking, others while commuting by train or car. For some it is while they meditate or pray. What is important is that it is done regularly. You could ask yourself the questions: what did I say I was going to do today, and what did I actually do? If what I did was different than what I planned, what were the reasons? What went well and what did not? How did I treat people? Am I proud of the way I lived this day? If I had the day to live over again, what would I do differently? And what did I learn today that will have an impact on how I live the next day going forward? Try 15 minutes a day to invest in your life and future.
In the same way, when you are faced with a particular opportunity, challenge or crisis, use the same questions you ask for self-reflection to help you decide on an outcome for the situation you are contemplating.
Take the time to reflect on all the priorities of your life – work, family, personal etc. and reinforce your commitment to make choices and decisions that are consistent with your values. Over time this habit will become the foundation of your values based leadership.Read More
When leaders substitute visions, missions, purposes, plans, or goals for the real work of strategy, they send their firms adrift.
When discussing strategy, executives often invoke some version of a vision, a mission, a purpose, a plan, or a set of goals. I call these “the corporate five” (see exhibit, below). Each is important in driving execution, no doubt, but none should be mistaken for a strategy. The corporate five may help bring your strategy to life, but they do not give you a strategy to begin with.
Nevertheless, they are often mistaken for strategy—and when that happens, real damage can ensue. If the corporate five are the cart and strategy is the horse, leaders who put the cart first often end up with no horse at all.
Before they get to the corporate five, companies need to address five much more fundamental, and difficult, questions. Let’s call them the “the strategic five”:
1. What business or businesses should you be in?
2. How do you add value to your businesses?
3. Who are the target customers for your businesses?
4. What are your value propositions to those target customers?
5. What capabilities are essential to adding value to your businesses and differentiating their value propositions?
Several years ago the nature of management’s future was driven home to me in a flash, as I shared the stage with my co-author and business partner Dr. Martha Rogers. It was the heyday of the dot-com boom, and we had just done an hour-long joint presentation for an audience of thousands, arguing that online technology now demanded that companies maintain relationships with their customers, individually. CRM (“Customer Relationship Management”) was being birthed during this period, and Martha and I felt like midwives in the process.
Q&A time came, and a man took the microphone to say that while this all sounded fine and good, “Isn’t there a quicker way to build a relationship?”
Martha and I looked briefly at each other, and then without missing a beat she responded, “Well, isn’t that just like a man?”Read More
What do the Dodge Dart Registry, Facebook, Old Spice deodorant, and Restoration Hardware have to do with the future of banking? All four contain seeds of a strategic innovation urgently needed in that industry: lowering the cost of retail distribution while improving the customer experience for an increasingly complex range of consumers (from old to young, urban to rural, wealthy to poor, tech savvy to technophobic, and so on).
We’ll explain more below, but for the moment, let’s focus on the bigger picture: Challenges as daunting as the one faced by bankers exist in almost every industry, owing to the new competitive forces and profitability pressures unleashed by globalization, digitization, and postrecession anemia. It’s why most executives are seeking more strategic innovation from their organizations. They want ideas that are big and proven. True strategic challenges will not be conquered with incremental solutions, and corporate life is already too risky to bet on a big idea that may or may not work.
Which brings us to the question of the day: Where do big, practical ideas come from?Read More
You’ve done what you were supposed to do. You got a great degree. You landed your first job. You’ve now been promoted a few times. And you’re now hanging on LinkedIn like every good professional should do.
You now are making decent money—more money than you ever thought you’d make. You’re married and now have responsibilities – kids, a mortgage, parents who may outlive their savings. But you’re not living the life that you envisioned. You may say you are. But be honest. Brutally honest with yourself. Move all fear to the side. Admit it.Read More
‘Why I left Goldman Sachs’
by Greg Smith
Précis by Pete Laburn
Landing a job at Goldman Sachs
Greg Smith is a pharmacist’s son from Johannesburg, South Africa, who won a scholarship to Stanford University in America. He grew up in Edenvale, as the eldest of three siblings in a Jewish middle class family, and earned a place among the 32 people, out of the 3000 international students, who applied for a full scholarship to Stanford. Three years later, in 2000, Greg was awarded a summer internship at Goldman Sachs.
Of the intern class in any year, only 40% of students would be offered a full time job at Goldman Sachs after the summer. The internship programme was very strenuous and difficult, but showed that the firm took its culture seriously and taught all potential employees about giving clients good service. The internship programme gave students an opportunity to show their merit over a 10 week period as opposed to relying on a 30 minute interview. The firm stressed the importance of giving clients the correct information, not making things up or exaggerating, but being upfront and honest, even when you make a mistake. Teamwork was also highly valued at Goldman Sachs.Read More
“Time to Think”
By Nancy Kline
Précis by Pete Laburn
Everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first. However determined or indefatigable or charismatic a person may be, their every action is only as good as the idea behind it. Therefore, in order to improve action, we have to first improve our thinking. The most important factor in whether or not people think well is how they are treated by the people with them. In fact the quality of a person’s attention determines the quality of the other persons thinking. So while everything we do depends on the thinking we do first, the quality of our thinking depends on the quality of our attention for each other. In this way the most important thing we can do with our life and with our leadership is to listen to people so expertly and give them attention so respectfully, that they will begin to think for themselves, clearly and afresh.
Blockages to good thinking are almost always assumptions being made by the thinker unawares. Assumptions that seem to be like truth. These limiting assumptions make it impossible for the thinker’s ideas to flow further. Of all the impediments to thinking these limiting assumptions are the most deadly. Taking these revelations into account, any good thinking process must include a mighty listening process on the part of the listener, and a process of questions so that the human mind, first freed by being paid the highest quality attention, can also leap past debilitating assumptions and be able to think of things inconceivable before.Read More
Too often I hear delegates in my seminars talking about this very topic. Most of the time their conclusions are all the same: execution far outweighs the importance of strategy! In this HBR piece by Ken Favaro, with Evan Hirsh and Kasturi Rangan, he outlines how both elements are equally important in the pursuit of success. Take a read and let me know what your thoughts are in the comments section below…
Many business leaders think they’d rather have great execution than superior strategies, but you can’t have the first without the second.
I once heard a business leader say, “Strategy is results.” He meant that strategy doesn’t matter as long as you are producing results. Many other business leaders feel the same way. Often, this is because they associate strategy with analysis and execution with getting things done, and they attribute more value to doing than to analyzing. From that perspective, a strategy is a lofty, self-evident statement such as “Our strategy is to maximize customer value” or “Our strategy is to become the market leader.” Such “strategies” don’t contribute much to producing results. Possibly, they motivate the troops, although even that is highly debatable.Read More
Many of you may have seen the below letter, written by Stephen Price to President Jacob Zuma, which was published a few weeks back. It sums up what is needed from our leaders in power as well as anyone who is in a position of leadership. In South Africa, as in many other parts of the world, strong leadership is so critical in establishing a culture of respect, service and unity for positive and productive growth. Ultimately, this letter serves as much as a reminder to the leader in each of us as it does a desperate plea to President Zuma.Read More
This is a well written article by my colleauge Keith Coats on humility in leadership. Too many leaders today are operating without humility, choosing rather to function with an over-confident and arrogant approach. The leaders of tomorrow are, as Keith explains, those who practice humility in their approach to leadership…
Think Big, Act Small by Jason Jennings is a worthwhile read (Kindle edition here). He looks into what has made best performing companies (in the USA) sustain their ‘start-up spirit’. In the book Jennings offers some arresting insights based on solid research done at the coal face of business . (It was written in 2005, before the recession, but is still highly relevant.)
One of the companies examined is that of Koch Industries, a firm founded by Fred Koch in 1940 with roots in the refining industry. The company’s annual revenues currently exceed $100 billion and according to Forbes, it is America’s second-largest privately held firm. Today, Charles and David Koch, the sons of Fred Koch, lead Koch Industries. Charles recalls two pieces of advice he was given by his father when he first joined the family business and was immediately given a part of the business (Koch Engineering Company) to run. The first bit of advice was to travel to Europe and explore what amounted to an operational strategic option. But this isn’t the advice that caught my attention – rather it was the second piece of advice that Fred gave to his son: that his son’s first deal would be a loser, “because otherwise you’ll think you are a lot smarter than you are.”
It was all about being, and remaining, humble.Read More
Author of “HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything,” argues that the “soft stuff”—leadership, trust, reputation, relationships—is fast becoming the hard currency of advantage. How we behave—as individuals, leaders, and institutions—makes all the difference in the 21st century.Read More
My colleague at Tomorrow Today, Keith Coats, recently published this excellent article about the 11 things that smart leaders know, do and live. I believe that these below points offer a solid foundation on which to build your own leadership skills and experience.
Charlie Parker, a genius when it comes to the saxophone, once said, “Jazz comes from who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.”
Charlie was spot-on - at least when it comes to leadership… I wouldn’t know about jazz!
Leadership is about who you are. It is about character. It is about looking inwards in order to lead outwards. The source of leadership is within rather than a set of external skills. The best leaders are those who know themselves, know their strengths and play to those strengths. They understand something of the connected, relational and paradoxical nature of the world in which they live and lead. They embrace change as an opportunity rather than a threat and they remain humble, lifelong learners who find wisdom in the small, the simple and the overlooked.Read More
Zachary Tumin and William Bratton, coauthors of Collaborate or Perish! Reaching across Boundaries in a Networked World, introduce an excerpt about how managers can become collaboration catalysts from The Collaboration Imperative: Executive Strategies for Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential, by Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese.
The difference now is that we are where Marshall McLuhan and Alvin Toffler said we’d be — the world is an electronic village in which the power of small groups to disrupt the status quo is soaring and response times are fast approaching zero. Digital technology has changed everything.
Or has it? Technology is an essential element of collaboration, but it’s no silver bullet. It can take out the friction, but in this era of big data, there are still plenty of big collaborative failures.
What makes collaboration so hard? It necessitates reaching across boundaries, building trust quickly, joining the assets of multiple networks, and making everything work together. All in an environment where you may have little or no formal authority, yet face the challenge of overcoming legacy systems, slow-moving bureaucracies, and mind-sets that favor collaboration only as a last resort.
In short, successful collaboration requires leadership. This excerpt from a book by Cisco executives Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese explains the key behaviors that leaders must exhibit to support and enhance collaboration. Every leader looking to unpack the riddle of collaboration and chart a sure path forward should read it.
— Zachary Tumin and William Bratton
Peter Drucker, in describing eight practices of effective executives, threw in a bonus practice: “This one is so important that I will elevate it to a rule: Listen first, speak last.”
The essence of leadership is to get results in a way that inspires trust. Although there are many behaviors that create trust, none offers greater leverage than listening. Yet, remarkably, it remains something many managers fail to do well. In extensive surveys conducted by FranklinCovey regarding 13 trust-building behaviors, the ability of managers to listen was consistently rated as their least effective skill by employees.
Left to our own devices, we listen last or not at all. Especially with our own employees. In this excerpt, Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind explain how leaders can counteract this tendency by creating structured, formal processes for listening.
Of course, listening alone is not enough; it is understanding that really creates trust and provides insight. Understanding does not necessarily mean you agree; in fact, you may disagree. It simply means that you understand. The test of understanding is not when you tell others, “I understand you”; rather, it’s when they tell you, “I feel understood.” But we will seldom reach understanding without first listening.
— Stephen M.R. CoveyRead More
This is an interesting article by Greg McKeown in which he juxtaposes the notion of the undisciplined pursuit of more with the disciplined pursuit of less. McKeown believes that success can be a catalyst for failure in that is leads to a wealth of options and opportunities which distract us from our core focus,talents and work of importance. In the below article he outlines his thinking as well as providing tools for working towards a disciplined pursuit of less.Read More